Saturday, December 06, 2014

Taqba Part Two

Jihadis are closing in on a Syrian air base isolate in eastern Syria. After the Syrian defeat and slaughter at Taqba air base, will the Syrian defenders fight like their lives depend on it or are they already pre-defeated in their minds?

This is ominous for the Syrian military:

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees say clashes continued for the second day around the air base just outside the contested eastern city of Deir el-Zour. The Observatory said fighters from the Islamic State group captured the strategic village of Jafra reaching the fence of the sprawling air base.

The Observatory, which has a network of activists around the country, said the fighting that started with an Islamic State offensive early Thursday has killed 30 government troops and 27 jihadi fighters.

The key military air base gives government warplanes a hub from which to bomb IS-held cities and towns across much of eastern Syria. For the Islamic State group, capturing the airport would eliminate the main pocket of resistance in the area and provide a major morale and propaganda boost after a string of setbacks in recent weeks.

I guess the jihadis learned that taking us on where we like the defenders--like at Kobani where we helped the Kurds hold--is a mistake.

The defenders repulsed the first big rush:

Islamic State group fighters stormed parts of a sprawling army air base Saturday in eastern Syria after days of clashes that killed dozens on both sides, activists said, while state media reported that the offensive was repelled.

Fifty-one defending soldiers and militia were killed and 68 jihadi attackers died, according to sources cited in the article. So it was a pretty serious attempt and not some drive-by shooting.

We won't provide air support for or glorious WMD-destruction partner Assad, will we?

Remember that the Syrian military could not hold the base at Taqba and jihadis did what jihadis do--slaughter prisoners.

At some point, assuming this base falls, will defeats on this scale crack Syrian morale?